The Town of Whitecourt and Woodlands County have jointly agreed to proceed to arbitration in order to finalize the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF).
Arbitration would allow for the parties to conclude the legislated requirements for an ICF agreement.
In 2017, the Alberta government introduced legislation requiring all municipalities to prepare ICFs. The frameworks are intended to formalize how municipalities that share borders will manage growth, coordinate service delivery, and optimize resources for citizens.
Whitecourt and Woodlands County have been working for over a year to negotiate new cost-share agreements. Once done, the agreements will be part of the ICF, which the province requires to be finalized by April 1, 2021.
According to a joint press release, both municipalities acknowledge that there are fundamental differences in key areas required for a completed ICF agreement.
The joint decision to proceed to arbitration will bring resolution to this process and allow for a positive relationship for the future, which they say will benefit all residents and stakeholders of the region.
A copy of the joint press release can be found here.